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Myofunctional therapy and frozen face

I recently contributed an article to the rather wonderful Annie’s Nannies website.

The article was called Your Face Really Can Freeze That Way, and in it, I looked at myofunctional therapy and the idea of the “frozen face”. This is when a child who once had a problem breathing through the nose, continues to keep their mouth open, even when they regain the ability to nasal breathe.

Why Does Frozen Face Happen?

The reason this happens really boils down to habit and muscle memory.

As I said in the article, “These children have essentially developed muscle patterning habits around an inability to breathe through their nose. Basic human functions, such as forming words, chewing and swallowing food, drinking liquids, and even swallowing their own saliva, are compromised by the inability to use their nose. These children are growing and developing around the fact that they cannot breathe properly. This simple habit will stay with them if it is not corrected, making certain facial features permanent or “frozen” into their adult years.”

How to Check If Your Child Is Mouth Breathing

The article goes into much more detail, so please hop over to the Annie’s Nannies site to read it in full. One thing it does highlight, is that it can be tough for parents to notice that their child is breathing through the mouth.

When parents contact me to set up an evaluation, the very first thing I ask them to do is to start paying close attention to their child’s mouth. Here are some of the things you can do to evaluate your own child:

  • Is his or her mouth open a fair amount of the time, or even all of the time? Even if it’s open by only a few millimeters, and the lips are barely parted, this is still something to be aware of. Start watching your child when they’re distracted, either watching TV, reading or listening to a story, playing games or just concentrating. These times are when you’re most likely to spot an open mouth, even if it’s quite subtle.
  • Try to see and hear if they’re nasal or mouth breathing? Can you hear the difference?
  • Can you tell when they’re congested? An easy way to check is to ask them to take 10 breaths through their nose. If this is difficult for them, then it’s something to be aware of.
  • If your child has allergies or food sensitivities, do these tend to cause enlarged tonsils, nasal congestion or any other airway and respiratory issues?

Parents can be dismayed and even feel guilty that they didn’t notice an open mouth or the other symptoms that I point out after an evaluation, but this is really quite common, so they shouldn’t be too hard on themselves.

My myofunctional therapy program is always a partnership between myself, the parent and the child. It consists of a series of exercises to help children learn to reprogram habits, while strengthening the oral and facial muscles. It’s a simple, yet incredibly effective and life changing treatment.

If you would like to learn more about my myofunctional therapy program, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me personally, I’d love to hear from you.

You can also schedule a free Skype consultation – just drop me a note at my contact form here or give me a call.

425.223.6005
sarah@myfaceology.com

 
 

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